Dozier focused on sharpening art of the steal

Dozier focused on sharpening art of the steal

CHICAGO -- Despite having a career year that saw him hit 42 homers last season, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier reflected on what he could do better and committed himself to becoming a better basestealer in 2017.

So far, it's worked out well for Dozier, who had three stolen bases in his first four games after stealing 18 in 20 attempts last year.

"After every year, I always look back and ask myself why I haven't done more on the basepaths, stealing bases," Dozier said. "So I kind of want to take it to a different level. Everything is calculated. I know when the time is right, and I know the times of every single pitcher. I know when I can and can't make it."

Dozier said preparation is the key to his success as he studies opposing pitchers, and bases his ability to steal on their time to home plate and the situation. He was happy with his 90 percent success rate last year, but felt he could've been more aggressive.

Levine on Dozier

"I'm not a burner who can let my speed make up for bad jumps," Dozier said. "It's all calculated. But I'm going to take more chances. No one is going to out-prepare me before I take off. If I get thrown out being wise, I'm OK with that."

Dozier also worked in Spring Training on getting better leads, and Statcast™ shows that's been the case so far early this year, as he's averaging 25.2 feet on his leads before his stolen bases compared to 23.2 feet last year. He's taken leads of 27.3, 24.5 and 23.8 feet -- the first of those a personal Statcast™ Era record on successful swipes of second.

"My leads against [Danny] Duffy compared to [Ian] Kennedy were completely different, because Duffy has one of the best step-off moves in the game," Dozier said. "It's not like just because I have the green light I'm going to go. I'm going to calculate everything. I can't go if [the pitchers' time to home plate is] under 1.27 [seconds]. But with a bigger lead, it could be a 1.29 and make it easier."

Outlook: Dozier, 2B, MIN

Twins manager Paul Molitor has noticed that aggression from Dozier on the bases, and said he's given him the green light this year.

"He's not our fastest guy, but he's more adept than anybody else at knowing what he can do and how to find an edge," Molitor said. "He has good instincts and good judgment and good breaks. So far, he's had opportunities to be aggressive and he's taking advantage."

Worth noting

• Amid a 1-for-18 start to the year through Friday, Byron Buxton was moved down from third to seventh in the lineup. Molitor met with Buxton before the game and said Buxton still feels confident about his offense.

• Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey was in the stands Friday night to watch potential No. 1 Draft pick Hunter Greene play for Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Greene, a two-way player, struck out 13 batters, and reportedly hit 100 mph.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.